Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Light of the Messiah I

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the L-RD is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the L-RD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:1-3).

These words are to be considered in light of what David, King of Israel was inspired by the holy spirit to say: For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light (Ps. 36:10).  What did David have in mind when he uttered this verse?  He had in mind the congregation of Israel who said to the Holy One, blessed be He: Master of the universe, on account of the Torah You have given to me, the Torah which is called the "fountain of life," I am destined to enjoy Your light in the time-to-come.

What is meant by in Your light do we see light?  What light is it that the congregation of Israel looks for as from a watchtower?  It is the light of the Messiah, of which it is said: And G-d saw the light that it was good (Gen. 1:4).  This verse proves that the Holy One, blessed be He, contemplated the Messiah and His works before the world was created, and then under His throne of glory put away His Messiah until the time of the generation in which He will appear.

Satan asked the Holy One, blessed be He: Master of the universe, for whom is the light which is put away under Your throne of glory?  G-d replied: For Him Who will turn you back and put you to utter shame.  Satan said: Master of the universe, show Him to me.

G-d replied: Come and see Him.  And when he saw Him, Satan was shaken, and he fell upon his face and said: Surely, this is the Messiah Who will cause me and all the counterparts in heaven of the princes of the earth's nations to be swallowed up in Gehenna, as it is written: He will swallow up death forever; and the L-rd G-d will wipe away tears from off all faces (Isaiah 25:8).  In that hour, all princely counterparts of the nations, in agitation, will say to Him: Master of the universe, who is this through whose power we are to be swallowed up?  What is his name?  What kind of being is he?

The Holy One, blessed be He, will reply: He is the Messiah . . . My true Messiah, Who will pull Himself up straight and will pull up straight His generation, and Who will give light to the eyes of Israel and deliver His people; and no nation or people will be able to withstand Him, as it is written: The enemy shall not do him violence, nor shall the son of wickedness afflict him (Ps. 89:23).  

The Holy One, blessed be He, will tell the Messiah in detail what will befall Him: There are souls that have been put away with You under My throne, and it is their sins which will bend You down under a yoke of iron and make You like a calf whose eyes grow dim with suffering, and will choke Your spirit as with a yoke; because of the sins of these souls, Your tongue will cleave to the roof of Your mouth.  Are You willing to endure such things?

The Messiah will say: Master of the universe, with joy in My soul and gladness in My heart I take this suffering upon Myself, provided that not one person in Israel perish; that not only those who are alive be saved in My days, but that also those who are dead, who died from the days of Adam up to the time of the Redemption; and that not only these be saved in My days, but all those who died as abortions; and that not only these be saved in My days, but all those whom You thought to create but were not created.  Such are things that I desire, and for these I am willing to take upon Myself whatever You decree.  [Pesikta Rabbati, 36:1]. 

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